Bob Franken


March 18, 2008
Recession Depression (Bob Franken)
@ 11:11 am

Here’s my question: Will the CEOs and top financial managers whose sleazy wheeling and dealing has caused our economy to buckle get extra millions in bonuses?

How could this happen? How could all those highly educated, pinstriped captains of financial industry continue stand to stand there with straight faces and assure us they will lead us out of the wreckage they created? How is it no one is talking about their individual criminal accountability?

How are we supposed to believe anything these people tell us? How many times do we have to have our life savings stripped away by these conspirators in greed?

We never learn, do we? This crash is amazingly similar to the dot-com burst and to that big daddy back in 1929. In each of these debacles you have that generation’s creative operators, using pretend money to get sinfully wealthy.

The rest of us enthusiastically went along because we were getting a few dimes ourselves. Then as now, the inevitable happens and we all discover that the big, big bucks were counterfeit.

As for our political leaders, all they do is bleat about their concerns — after the fact. Until the house of cards collapses, they look the other way, too beholden to the fat cats who keep them under control by sharing a few morsels from their banquet.

There’s one thing we can learn from this latest episode: that we never learn.

Again it’s not only causing a panic in the U.S. of A. Our Keystone Cops are causing a collapse of markets worldwide. Our proud high technology is causing it to happen at warp speed.

Meanwhile, we have President Hoover — excuse me, Bush — talking about our “challenging times.” The “challenge” is to somehow impose the proper restraints on the inmates who are running the asylum.

Ours is a system that is funded by confidence. But the assurances of our leaders have as much credibility as e-mail ads or commercials for prescription drugs. Or politicians who claim they represent change.

The changes we need are fundamental. We need to impose strict rules on the private sector’s money games and punish the high-flying frauds who break them.

The ineffectively regulated frontier doesn’t work. We can count on the con artists to find ways to work their scams. What we always discover is that the “free market system” that everyone glorifies isn’t “free” after all.

Unfortunately, we all pay for the massive damage created by the hustlers. Maybe it’s time that they too pay a huge price.

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